Western Maine Health Senior Vice President of Clinical Services, M. Patricia Cook, RN, MBA, EdD was pleased to announce recently that Sandy Richards, RNAS-C in the Surgical Services Department at Stephens Memorial Hospital has successfully completed testing to be a Certified First Assistant in the Operating Room. Sandy is the first nurse at Stephens Memorial Hospital to achieve this status.
Sandy completed a three year course through the National Institute of First Assisting online; as part of her training, she was also able to venture to the University of Southern Nevada for courses where she participated in simulated surgeries. In the SMH Operating Room, Sandy was mentored in her internship by Gregory Hardy, M.D. as well as other surgeons as she worked with them. The First Assistant RN certification required that Sandy first be certified in Operating Room nursing which meant studying independently and then passing a national exam while she was working on her First Assist certification requirements.
Sandy shares, "I have enjoyed working in the surgical setting for the past 11 years, and desired more hands on experience in the operating room. I explored the options and approached Pat Cook who sent me to a one week intensive course and then encouraged me. Beverly has supported my training and made sure I had all the experiences I needed. I look forward to continuing to work with the surgical team as a certified First Assistant RN. I would like to thank Stephens Memorial Hospital for their support throughout this endeavor. "
Beverly Snow, RN-BC, Nurse Director of Surgical Services explains, that Certified First Assistants, "Are an assistant to the surgeon including suturing and wound closure." As defined by the American
College of Surgeons, the first assistant provides aid in exposure, hemostasis, and other technical functions that will help the surgeon carry out a safe operation with optimal results for the patient. This role will vary considerably with the surgical operation, specialty area, and type of facility.
Beverly Snow says of Sandy, "It is exciting for the Operating Room to have a Registered Nurse complete the First Assistant program. Sandy has worked hard to complete all of the requirements; she is a great asset to the department. In addition to her role as a First Assist, Sandy is an RN Circulator and also cares for patients in Surgical Day Care and the Post Anesthesia Care Unit. Sandy's flexibility and positive attitude as well as her concern for her patient's well being make her a valuable member of our team."
Sandy has been an RN at SMH for 7 years, she resides in Norway.